Lesson from a Fortune Cookie

Fortune CookieCrack open a fortune cookie and you get a fortune that’s nearly always true. Yet you will rarely find the message interesting.


Because it is vague. In the writer’s attempt to make the fortune relevant to everyone, it becomes relevant to no one.

The lesson from the fortune cookie is that vague recognition that could apply to anyone doesn’t leave people feeling recognized. “Good job!” just doesn’t cut it.

When you offer praise or appreciation be specific. Tell what the person did and why you (or the organization) value it. Talk about their strengths and talents, their attitude, their goals, and achievements, whatever is applicable. Just remember to provide plenty of detail.

Do you have a recognition story to share? I would love to hear it!


My name is Cindy Ventrice. I am the author of the best-selling book Make Their Day! Employee Recognition That Works and the companion guide Recognition Strategies That Work.

My work has been quoted in The New York Times, Alaska Airlines Magazine, Workforce Magazine, and Tim Sanders' book The Likeability Factor.

Visit my website www.maketheirday.com today!

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